Definition of elegiac
- an elegiac lament for departed youth
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
the sight of an old ruined church or castle can be a pleasantly elegiac experience
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elegiac.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Elegiac was borrowed into English in the 16th century from the Late Latin elagiacus, which in turn derives from the Greek elegeiakos. "Elegeiakos" traces back to the Greek word for "elegiac couplet" or "elegy," which was "elegeion." It is no surprise, then, that the earliest meaning of "elegiac" referred to such poetic couplets. These days, of course, the word is also used to describe anything sorrowful or nostalgic. As you may have guessed, another descendant of "elegeion" in English is "elegy," which in its oldest sense refers to a poem in elegiac couplets, and now can equally refer to a somewhat broader range of laments for something or someone that is now lost.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
What made you want to look up elegiac? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).